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Cultural Preservation, Education, & Reconciliation in Mali

Instruments4africa (I4A) is a not-for-profit (501c-3) organization formed to reinforce traditional music and the arts in West Africa. We promote time-tested cultural activities that support traditional values of tolerance and peaceful conflict resolution. We work to empower underprivileged and at-risk youth through academic and cultural educational opportunities. We organize events and create spaces that bring people together with the common goal of mending the social fabric of today’s Mali through shared artistic expression, culture, and history, emphasizing Malian’s similarities and their long-standing tradition of tolerance.

Embedded in the songs, stories and ceremonies that are interpreted by artists and accompanied by traditional instruments, are lessons that advise or remind people about what is important in life. They explain the origins of interethnic cooperation and family ties, and dictate appropriate behavior in disputes and reconciliation strategies.

With the understanding that a large part of cyclical poverty is mental, I4A aims to buttress the value of traditional cultural “wealth” and support its transfer from generation to generation. Such validation adds to the village and societal cohesion, and strengthens generational ties. Such ties help inoculate village populations against the influence of extremist ideologies which threaten Mali, especially in the north of the country.